The US State Department on Friday urged all Americans to leave Ethiopia “as soon as possible”, according to a security alert posted on the website of the US embassy in Addis Ababa.
The alert described the security situation in the country as “very fluid”.
According to Reuters, a group of anti-government forces threatened to march into the capital.
The State Department on its travel advisory website warned Americans traveling to the country, saying: “Do not travel to Ethiopia because of the potential for armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruption, crime and terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.”
The warning comes as Ethiopia plunges deeper into the crisis triggered by the ongoing war in the country’s northern Tigre region.
The Ethiopian government on Wednesday declared a six-month state of emergency and called on residents to protect their neighborhoods when rebels arrive in the capital.
“Our country is facing a grave threat to its existence, sovereignty and unity. And we cannot address this threat through normal law enforcement systems and procedures,” Justice Minister Gedion Timothevos said during a state media briefing.
Tigre region leader Debreshan Gebremichael blamed the Ethiopian government and its allies for the suffering of the past year.
“The warlords decided to continue the war, and we entered this war because the only option we had was to destroy our enemies by force,” he said.
Thursday marked the first anniversary of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s deployment of troops to Tigre, a day before Tigre People’s Liberation Front forces captured military bases. The ensuing conflict has left thousands dead, several million displaced from their homes and 400,000 Tigre residents facing famine, according to a July 1 estimate by the United Nations.
A joint investigation published on Wednesday by the United Nations and the government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission found human rights violations committed by all parties to the conflict, including torturing civilians, gang rape and arresting people based on ethnicity. . UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said some of these abuses could be war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Some information in this report has been received from Reuters.